‘The Andy Griffith Show’: One Character Led To Griffith’s Only Fight With Creator Sheldon Leonard

by Matthew Memrick
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Mayberry’s sheriff had jurisdictional issues with one character, leading to just one fight with “Andy Griffith Show” creator Sheldon Leonard.

The sleepy little town, portrayed in Andy home state of North Carolina, had colorful residents. They added to the charm of the show.

But there was one character Andy Griffith reportedly was against adding to the show from the beginning, according to MeTV. Griffith fought with show creator Sheldon Leonard. Leonard wanted to introduce a mayor for Mayberry. The show’s star was dead set against that.

“He wanted to introduce a character that I knew wasn’t going to work,” Griffith said. “And it didn’t.”

Griffith said the show creator wanted the mayor to act as a boss-like figure.

Griffith Knew A Mayor Wouldn’t Work

Maybe it was the University of North Carolina education Griffith had. But the actor figured out that if he was the sheriff, he’d oversee the whole county, whereas a mayor would just be in charge of a town.

Griffith was fine for the sheriff as “the lead to have a boss figure.” And he wanted the “Andy Griffith Show” to be as realistic as it could be for 1950s TV viewers.

But Griffith lost that battle. Leonard brought in Dick Elliott to play Mayor Floyd Pike for 11 episodes. Notably, Pike’s first appearance on the “Andy Griffith Show” came with Officer Barney Fife (Don Knotts) in the Season 1 episode titled “The Manhunt.”

Elliott died in 1961 during the second season. The show never really addressed Elliott’s character’s death or absence on the show.

Then, Parley Baer came in to play Mayor Stoner for seven episodes. Baer played a buttoned-up official, running a strict office. He had a high-strung demeanor, and he had some expectations for the sheriff. 

Then after season three’s “Rafe Hollister Sings,” Stoner was never seen again. So maybe Griffith finally figured out a way to get his way.  

Mayor of Mayberry Has A History

The late Parley Baer, who played Mayor Roy Stoner on “The Andy Griffith Show,” appeared in so many TV shows during his career. 

Early in his life, the former Army captain served as a ringmaster for Circus Vargas and Barnum & Bailey. But when he got a foot in the door, he worked hard at his acting career, which spanned from 1950 to 2001.

Over the years, Baer had parts in “The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show” and “Alfred Hitchcock Presents.” He worked his way into “I Love Lucy,” “The Danny Thomas Show,” and “The Rifleman.” He also did three episodes of “Have Gun Will Travel” before landing in Mayberry.

After that quick trip down Maple Street, he went on to big shows like “Perry Mason,” “The Addams Family,” and “Hogan’s Heroes.”

If there was a TV show that needed a guy, that guy was Baer.

Outside of the small screen, the actor voiced Ernie the Elf in commercials for Keebler Cookies. Baer died in 2002.

Outsider.com